The Influence of Internet on Language

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From almost total obscurity Internet swiftly leapt into our lives covered almost all the spheres of human activity, from shop to sex from research to rebellion. The Internet as an information and communication platform has become essential in our daily life. Existing side by side with other media, the latest mass medium has changed our communicative behavior enormously. (The European English Messenger, 2005). Personal Computer (PC) Internet users know that it is possible to find different kinds of texts in it: fiction, academic writing and mass media - practically all possible existing types of texts. Of special interest is communication between people in the Internet and the different types of Websites. The so-called electronic language has aroused great linguistic and psychological interest and attracts more and more attention of the linguists and psychologists who are really concerned with its possible influence on language and psychology in general. Linguists are concerned with the influence this system may have on a living language. The Internet, in conjunction with radio and television, telephone communication and printed materials, creates the universal information net, which is called "Cyberspace" and Received July 22, 2008

all the people using the online communication are "Netizens" in this net (the word is easily associated with "citizens"). The regular users are "Webies", the new ones -"Newbies". The language we use in the net is "Netspeak" 1

People, unfamiliar with the mechanisms of Online Communication and familiar with the conventions of offline communication, think that there can be no analogy of online communication with speech. Chatrooms and the like are too constrained by their response times and the slow speed of typing to be considered as a good analogy of speech. Regarding some broad pragmatic themes (communicative effectiveness, spamming, lurking, emoticons and abbreviations), the comparative brevity of online communication, its lack of formality and the inclusion of "framing", Web pages, e-mail and other mechanisms are too transient or easily modified to be equivalent to the printed word. This is a good example of one way that online and offline communications differ.

Moreover, in the minds of many, Net Discourse is a little more than linguistic vandalism, illiterate online expression where grammar is gone and spelling is superfluous. However, the language used online is that of real people of great diversity, whose output is largely unedited by proofreaders or publishers. The change of the language affects even people who never log on or use the letters AWHF in regular communication to ask "are we having fun?", or TMOT, that is "trust me on this". Unlike a library, the Internet is an interactive and dynamic world.

Giving a linguist's appraisal of Electronic Discourse, the well-known British linguist David Crystal points out that we are on the brink of the biggest revolution in language ever, that Netspeak, this is how he calls online language, is not a monolithic creation, but rather a disparate set of communication methods and types such as e-mail, chatrooms, Internet Relay Chat, World Wide Web pages, Websites etc. He suggests that online language is best viewed as a new species of interaction, a genuine "third medium" (besides the written and oral forms of English), which is evolving its own systematic rules to suit new circumstances. (Crystal D., 2001)

He largely dismisses the common view that online communication is illiterate and dumbed-down language. He agrees that much of it is non-standard, playful, highly deviant in bending the usual rules of language, tolerant of typographic and spelling errors, and full of new words. But he is fascinated by its variety and innovation and takes a very positive view, suggesting that "The phenomenon of Netspeak is going to change the way we think about language in a fundamental way, because it is a linguistic singularity - a...
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